Rimbaud:”The poet should make himself a seer by a long, immense, deliberate disorder of all the senses”. The constipated mind of dented cans. An alchemical process of language, which Rimbaud could not have foreseen the ways in which consumer society could create such vernacular chaos in the same of heightened consumption, the shock value of anxiety and the hysterical by means of the sensational and spectacle to ply their wares. Its a simple formula; a preoccupation with the banal as if it held profound inner truths about human relations and a connectivity to that inner you. A glorification of the indifferent. This meant a removal of the distinction between art and business. The alchemical properties of the ready made. A Duchamp urinal within the pocketbook budget of all.
Marketing and advertising as ideology. It was almost inevitable that appeasing the mob of the middle class, its violent side of acquisition and deep seated fear of returning to feudalistic status accorded by serfdom would be to create a value or sets of values contextually based on how things are presented. Its exhibition value so to speak. To engage Baudelaire’s flaneur with his infatuation with the crowd. After all, is there a difference between a mannequin in a store and a Vanessa Beecroft mannequin that sell for thousands? In a sense, it reflects the cheapness of human life, the masses willingness to wipe feces and being told it is gold. Its market value as the primary value, an atwork measuredwith the same metrics as stock market valuation. Art as a celebration of business, which ultimately is why it sells; Adam Smith’s “unseen hand.”
The media psychosis of becoming, of “being” part of a psychotic spectacle. There is something mad, insane even about the entire facility, the structural apparatus solely devoted to avoiding any and all pretenses of addressing reality, while simultaneously reaffirming bourgeois values within the realm of psychotic entertainment.Psychotic because there is no engagement with empathy. The post-modern cult of personality that sees a blurring whereby the individual is a commercial product, like a sophisticated robot, and the commercial product appeals as peculiarly personal. The consumer good is a celebrity. Both are fetish objects. All very much within Adorno’s theory of the culture industry where artistic representation is neutered and reproduced like a puppy farm, mortally wounded from Benjamin’s optimistic forecast of mechanical reproduction. So much for the emancipatory qualities Benjamin extolled; its just layers of modes of deception.
Kuspit: One of the reasons that Kandinsky was concerned with inner life is that it registers the pernicious emotional effects of outer materialistic life, affording a kind of critical perspective on materialism that becomes the springboard for emotional transcendence of it. The inability of Pop art to convey inner life, which is a consequence of its materialistic disbelief in interiority, and especially spirituality, which is the deepest interiority, indicates that Pop art’s irony is at best nominally critical. Irony in fact mocks belief, even as it spices up materialism, making it seem less banal, that is, populist, thus giving Pop art the look of deviance characteristic of avant-garde art….
When American Pop Art emerged in the 1960s, the joke was that it looked better in reproduction than it did in reality — looked better as a reflection in the mirror of reproduction than when seen in person, an idea valorized by Andy Warhol’s wish to be a star so that he could meet real stars face to face and see that they didn’t look as perfect as they did in their photographs. Their faces, like his, had blemishes, which made them real. But he didn’t like their reality, only their glamorized appearances. It was the kiss of death for esthetic experience and the ironic negation of Walter Benjamin’s theory that reproduction was socially progressive in that it eliminated the cultic aura art had in pre-modern — pre-enlightened — societies….Postmodernism is the triumph of derealization and depersonalization over reality testing and self-realization, that is, the realization that one is a particular person not a social robot, or, to use Winnicott’s language, has a True Self, capable of “spontaneous gesture and personalized idea,” as he says, however routinely false to oneself one may be. …
Spectacularization by way of reproduction and commodification also do the work of art unexpected good — more unexpected yet consistent good than they do the spectator. For only by becoming a spectacular commodity is the work of art likely to — in fact will — survive in capitalist society, and with that into posterity, for the capitalists who own, sponsor and celebrate it as a spectacular achievement — who are the powerful elite in the society of the capitalist spectacle — have the power to give it a post-commodity future. The only way for art to become unconditionally elite — immortal — is to become a spectacular commodity and thus appeal to the spectacular capitalist elite. The artist becomes what Erich Fromm calls a marketing personality publicizing himself in order to sell his art as an enduring and indispensable commodity — first and foremost as a socially unique commodity, and secondarily as eternal art able to afford a transcendental esthetic and intimate emotional experience — even though the more it is presented as a commodity the less likely it is to function esthetically and existentially. It is the commodity art of the capitalist elite — who are usually also the political and social and even religious elite — that survives in museums and textbooks. It then becomes a fully realized appearance, and thus sufficient unto itself — transcends the conditions of its making, commodification and reproduction. The greatest power the capitalist elite has is the power to create, control and own the future — to bring works of art into the establishment and pantheon called Posterity….
…Today commodification and reproduction are the only path to immortality — the uniqueness that is unreproducible and thus transcendent. There will be neither works of art nor commodities in the future — which may be here already — but estheticized commodities — commodities that represent the entertaining “world beyond,” to refer to Debord’s term, and as such are eternally elite. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/art-and-capitalist-spectacle2-8-11.asp
In the society of the spectacle, we live in fantasy not in reality, and we are unable to distinguish them. As Debord writes, “the spectacle proclaims the predominance of appearances and asserts that all human life, which is to say all social life, is mere appearance. . . it [is] a visible negation of life. . . a negation of life that has invented a visual form for itself.” “It turns reality on its head,” even as “the spectacle is real.” It establishes “the empire of modern passivity”: the “image of the ruling economic order,” it is “beyond dispute” and “demands. . . passive acceptance.” Where in an earlier capitalist stage, there was a “downgrading of being into having,” the current capitalist stage “entails a generalized shift from having to appearing: all effective ‘having’ must now derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate raison d’être from appearances.” The society of the spectacle relies on “technical rationality” to produce pure appearances — especially mechanical and digital reproduction, the most rationalizing technologies for producing appearances, the more spectacular the better: “the spectacle is. . . a technological version of the exiling of human powers in a ‘world beyond’ — and the perfection of separation within human beings.” Art has credibility and exists only as a marketable, “technical” appearance in the society of the spectacle — as what Debord calls an “image-object” in the service of the “dictatorial freedom of the Market,”(9) which is the ultimate spectacle and the ultimate reason for its existence and credibility. Those who can afford to own the most marketable “artistic” appearances, as well as the business artists who produce them, become part of the spectacle, that is, marketable appearances in their own right — those image-objects called celebrities. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/art-and-capitalist-spectacle2-8-11.asp
…Even countercultural anti-art, such as Duchamp’s readymades, and anti-elite non-art, such as Kaprow’s happenings — the pseudo-art of the pseudo-eureka moment, as I think of it, more particularly, throwaway art made by quasi-chance in contrast to art made in the belief that it would last forever, that is, art that identifies itself with eternity rather than the specious present — will be acculturated as elite commodity art and preserved in the museum of the capitalist spectacle. The literary critic Murray Krieger has written about “the fall of the elite object,” but he fails to note that it rises again as an elite commodity, as everything collected as capital does. The society of the capitalist spectacle is a society of collectibles, and everything is collectible in a capitalist society — from automobiles to matchboxes, from so-called primitive artifacts to the archeological relics of sophisticated antiquity — and as such museum-worthy, and with that immortalizable, which makes it all the more marketable. In the Communist Manifesto Marx celebrated bourgeois capitalism for its liberation of work, and the remarkable technological achievements that made it possible — including mechanical and eventually digital reproduction — but he neglected to note that bourgeois capitalism liberated objects from banality (which is what Duchamp’s assisted readymades may be about) by making them spectacular commodities. ( ibid. )